Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kevin Is Right: In Defense of David Goyer (Sort Of)

Listen, I've been on the Goyer hating train for a while now.   But if there's one thing I really hate, it's a lynch mob, particularly a misguided one.  Look, I'm not going to write an article where I tell you that David Goyer isn't a shit-head - he is.  But if you're going to go after the man, go after him for the right reasons.  Because, if there's one thing I do love, it's being right.

So what happened?  David Goyer was on a podcast, and he was trying to make with the funny, and he was put in a weird spot, and he said some shit and then the Mary Sue got a hold of it, and an internet shit storm was created.  David Goyer is a Sexist!  David Goyer is literally Hitler.  David Goyer thinks She-Hulk is a pornstar!  David Goyer is Public Enemy #1 on Twitter, let's get him!

At no point, as people have tripped over their own thumbs to express outrage, has anyone bothered to look at the context here, and as a guy who has a fairly risque dick joke podcast, I really understand the value of context.  So I'm going to talk about it.  Sorry (I'm not sorry) to rain on your parade.

First off, let's talk about the podcast that Goyer's comments were made on.  I'm no great fan, so this is based on some rudimentary research, but it appears to be a podcast about writing, specifically scriptwriting.  There's a live audience to be entertained, and because it aspires to be a worthwhile podcast, there didn't seem to be a lot of talking points handed out before the show.  We're talking off the cuff here, having a conversation, and in this conversation writers were assigned super-heroes to re-boot off the top of their heads.  She-Hulk didn't get assigned to Goyer, but he chimed in on the conversation.  Not as much because he's a stark raving lunatic who can't wait to talk about all of his sexist ideas, but, you know, because he's on a podcast.  (The audience and the funny and all).

So the conversation turns to the origins of She-Hulk.  The entire conversation exists within the hosts' (Craig Mazin) comments that She-Hulk was created to be  "Slut Hulk."  That She-Hulk was created to appeal sexistly to 10 year old boys.  There are some important words there.  Did you read them?  "Sexistly" is in there.  As in, this is a criticism of why She-Hulk was created, as we recognize that sexism is bad.  And then there's the other part "was created."   This is important as well because noting the fact that something is created is very different than providing an endorsement.  And so, when Goyer hops in, he's hopping into a conversation not about "How She-Hulk Should Be" or even "What's Great About She-Hulk", he's jumping into a lighthearted criticism of the potentially problematic and sexist aspects of the character.

So what does he do?  He adds to that criticism!!!  Sure, he does it like a fucking clown that doesn't understand the fundamental facts of the character, but as he's nice enough to offer his opinion without the benefit of research (C'mon, seriously, is the geek litmus test really going to be your intimate knowledge of the origins of She-Hulk?) in a way that is consistent with the tone of the conversation, let's cut the man some slack.    He's talking about a male power fantasy, and, frankly folks, when you start examining an idea as a male power fantasy, you're probably inherently providing criticism, but at a minimum, demonstrating a self-awareness that is at least compatible with feminism and conscious of why the phrase "male power fantasy" exists in the first place.

Although, when written down, Goyer's quotes "I think She-Hulk is the chick you could fuck if you're the Hulk" is juicy as all-get-out, you're missing the irony, you're missing the satire.  Is this really his theory about She-Hulk, about how she currently exists as a character?  Sure!  (And that is dumb, because it would be very weird to create a character for another character to fuck...and make them cousins.) But his theory is rife with implicit criticism about the simplicity and sexism of the times and culture that created She-Hulk.

Where's the outrage over this Mazin guy, by the way?  If Goyer is guilty, Mazin has to be twice as guilty, no?  But Mazin, as far as I know, hasn't broken a whole bunch of nerd-hearts with a really terribly bad Superman script, and so, we give him a pass while we post out of context Goyer quotes on our twitter feed.

David Goyer is a shit head.  He wrote one of the worst written movies of all time in Man of Steel, provided a swiss cheese plot for the ending of The Dark Knight Trilogy, and you can make a pretty good argument that he doesn't understand the first thing about She-Hulk.  Hell, he might even be a sexist (who knows?  I don't know the guy, do you?)  But this shit has to stop.  You know what you're doing.  Geeks are smart, we understand context.  We understand subtlety and satire.  So when you read those quotes, and you post to your twitter, you're doing something disingenuous.  Geeks don't get to play dumb like buzzfeed or Fox News.  Get mad at Goyer for Man of Steel.  Get mad at Goyer for not understanding a fundamental aspect of the character of She-Hulk.  Get mad at people WHO ACTUALLY SAY SEXIST THINGS! (right the fuck on!) but quit with the lynch mob.  Quit with the sensationalism.  Quit with the revenge.  You don't like how Goyer wrote Man of Steel?  Neither do I, but I'm not sitting here trying to snap his neck.